Talk of the Thames
PUBLISHED: 18:25 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 10:07 23 August 2010
WITHOUT the river, Gravesend would not exist. It is important to remember that it is an essential part of our history, the vein of our town. This is the view of historian Tony Larkin, 70, of Constitution Hill, Gravesend, who grew up in the town, and h
WITHOUT the river, Gravesend would not exist. It is important to remember that it is an essential part of our history, the vein of our town."
This is the view of historian Tony Larkin, 70, of Constitution Hill, Gravesend, who grew up in the town, and has witnessed the changes that have taken place on the River Thames over the years.
From this week, The Reporter will be bringing you Talk of the Thames, keeping you up to date with what is happening on the river, tide times and the all important shipping news.
The town is home to two piers, The Royal Terrace Pier built in 1845 and the Town Pier, built in 1834 home to the headquarters of the Port of London Authority (PLA).
Mr Larkin said: "As a young boy, I remember seeing the river so busy. It saddens me to see how it has changed, but it is still important for us to remember it.
"That is why columns like Talk of the Thames are a good idea, and how we carry on the tradition of the Regattas every year.
"The town first took shape along the river Thames, built on a natural chalk landing stage.
"By the time of Henry VIII, Gravesend was the gateway to London. Boats would be forced to stop here, and passengers would enter London by land, so the town saw its fair share of royalty and famous historical figures.
"Princess Alexandra landed here in 1863, from Denmark, the future wife of Edward VII.
"But it was also a place where people came to leave, for perhaps a new life in Australia, a place where you would come to disappear."
Mr Larkin says that it was in the 1960s that the amount of river transport using the Thames and stopping at Gravesend dropped significantly.
He added: "With the closure of the dockyards in London and Tilbury, things changed and Gravesend had to change too. But its history can never be forgotten.
"I still go down there two to three times a week, we have the Promenade and the Fort Gardens. I think about what it once was and it really is a wonder to behold.